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About Eco-Tourism

Ecotourism is not just a marketing catch-phrase. It is a term used to describe ethical tourism that focuses on appreciation and preservation of a country's flora, fauna, ecosystems and culture.

Belize stands at the forefront of the ecotourism movement. Despite its small size, no other country can boast a greater percentage of its land mass dedicated to natural reserves, parks, and preserves.

The basic idea behind ecotourism is that visitors to a place can contribute to the environment and support the people who live in that environment. If the local people can make a living from tourism, then there is less need to burn off the forest for food or hunt endangered animals for the price of their skins.

InnerQuest hires local guides and drivers and consciously contributes to the local economy, environment and community in Belize. Most recently, InnerQuest raised funds to put Martin "Batch" Humes, one of our local guides, through his final year in college. Our commitment to bring tourist dollars has a tangible influence in saving the environment, providing jobs, and raising environmental standards.

As an InnerQuest client, your tour dollars protect and serve the areas you visit. Eco-tourism can only work if it is supported by wildlife and nature lovers like you, who care about the environment. To help you better enjoy and contribute to the environment of Belize, there are several things you can do.

Conserve water and electricity:
Most Belizean hotels, resorts, and private homes obtain water for drinking and washing from cisterns that trap rainwater. However, dependence on rainwater also means dependence on the weather cycle. Like most of the rest of the world, Belize is subject to periodic droughts; drought conditions are especially prevalent on the Cayes. Even during the "rainy season," rain may be sporadic and irregular. During the "dry season," there may be little or no rain for weeks at a time.

Electricity costs in Belize are among the highest in the world; and can seriously impact the profit margin for a small or family run hotel or guesthouse. Be conscious of your utility usage; turn off your air conditioner when you don't really need it or when you are leaving your room.

Protecting Reef and Marine ecosystems
The increasing popularity of the world's second largest barrier reef is both a blessing and a curse. Some of Belize's most popular underwater attractions are showing signs of damage from excessive and often careless human contact; the local tourism associations and environmental organizations have responded by implementing reef protection education programs focussed at dive operators. Marine ecosystems are extremely fragile; the mere act of touching coral can kill it. When you dive or snorkel, be careful not to touch the coral; and make sure that your fins donŐt kick sand up into the coral. If you are chartering a boat, be extremely careful that your boat anchors well away from the reef. Needless to say, waste should not be dumped from a boat into the sea. Dive operators in Belize are now well trained in reef protection; you will probably get a lecture about protecting the reef before you hit the water. However, if you observe careless conduct on the part of your captain or crew, donŐt be hesitant to report the offending operator to the local Belize Tourist Industry Association (BTIA) office; ask your hotel manager to put you in contact with the local BTIA representative. If you see a fellow guest abusing the reef, take him or her aside and tactfully explain why he/she should be more careful.

Wilderness area and wildlife habitat protection:
Travel to wilderness areas are best undertaken in the company of trained and experienced local guides (some areas permit only guided tours for the protection of both habitat and visitors). If you do decide to proceed without such a guide, take the time to learn about the area and how to ensure that you do not inadvertently stray too close to important wildlife habitats. A visit to the local Audubon Society or other organization involved in projects in the area you plan to visit can assist you in obtaining such information.

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